Despite the rampant insanity of this year, I’m happy to report that the timeless pleasures of summer still triumph. We may not be making positive, impactful momentum on the current pandemic, racial riots are blasting in the streets and the basic financial and political fabric of our culture is eroding before our eyes, but, fortunately, the simple, sublime delight of lounging on the patio soaking in the sun with a tart Ice tea remains unscathed.
My prime strategy these days is to sop up every agreeable thing that comes anywhere remotely close, which is why I’ve determined to indulge myself by donning a piece of my extensive, carefully curated linen collection every day. The window is small, so I’m going to revel in the fleeting pleasure whether or not the temperature calls for it.
Linen, my dears, is perfection. When you can boast a pedigree that pre-dates the pyramids, you’ve got a timeless and transcendent appeal. The coveted mix of understated elegance, raw texture and inherent breathability make linen uniquely suitable for hot climates. For the designer, nothing compares to the weighty drape, movement and crisply sharp silhouettes this natural fibre supplies. Linen is to sewing as what butter is to cooking; it just makes everything better.
Since linen was an economic and practical staple of everyday life in ancient cultures, it appears many times in the Bible. It has a place of honor, attiring the upper classes with luxurious exclusivity; the garb of status and wealth. In Proverbs 31, our stellar woman of virtue was occupied with making linen garments and selling them (verse 24). Linen figured largely in burial rites and other important occasions. We are told explicitly that “David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded in a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14), binding the idea of kings, Levites. linen and worship together in a significant manner. (When you’re about to bring God home to Jerusalem, it matters what you’re wearing!).
Spiritually, linen is far more than simple fabric. It carries the substantial symbolism of precious value, high quality and virtuous purity. Though sumptuous, linen has a texture paradoxically simple and earthy, conveying undertones of sincerity, straightforward integrity and virtue. We see this idea culminated in the description of the Bride of Christ, the Church, presented to the Lord.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:8 KJV
As I spread my freshly laundered linen dress out on the ironing board, running my hand over the nubbly texture, I ponder. Since I’ve purposed to enjoy linen every day of the summer, and spiritually, linen equates to “the righteous deeds of the saints” how does that translate? When interaction is limited, how do we share the love of God, our faith and the moving of the Holy Spirit in a meaningful, down-to-earth way? How can we be true to our individual personality? When I put on my spiritual linen ephod and dance before the Lord, where does the presence of God manifest?
There’s a passage that describes David’s mindset and the way the Lord used him in every circumstance, propitious or contrary. It inspires me as I look for opportunities to be both a practical help and a spiritual giant.
So he (David) fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. Psalm 78:72
However you share these days, let it be authentic – a shining expression of who you really are. This is no time for phoney-baloney. What moves you? Where’s your passion? What comes to you easily? What do you excel at? Seize these tools and shape an expression of the love of God at a time when everyone is desperate for it. Maybe it’s as simple as a phone call to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time; a quick note or face-time. Maybe it’s a care-package surprise out of the blue. Do you work with your hands, have mechanical or technical bent? Neighbor or friend might be deeply grateful for your practical help, but afraid to ask.
We can honor social distancing without embracing paranoia. The real linen of everyday life is both functional and stylish, classy and utilitarian. It’s just plain beautiful, tough and strong. Even the wrinkles are noble.
Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Ezekiel 16:13 NKJV
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